Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Spirit Books at the Arnold: Part 10

 Spirit Book #41: Ceremonial Sympathy is another Spirit Book that has been created from prior ones. The stories of the various iterations can get complicated. The cradle is made from weeping mulberry branches that were gathered at Atkinson Common in Newburyport many years ago after a winter storm. It was previously the cradle for Spirit Book #40: Patient Protection whose book became part of #96: Harmonious Rebirth which is in the exhibition. The book of #41 was originally on a cradle of a fragment of a Christmas tree discarded along High Street in Newburyport. The decision to not continue using that cradle was a practical one. The tips of the branches were too thin and were easily broken off. I had chosen the color of the paper to match the warm golden tones of the original cradle.
There is a circular bead made of horn at the center of each page and pinpricked holes and glass seed beads creating patterns around the center bead. Rectangular horn beads are sewn along the edges of the pages.

The word "ceremonial" in the title comes from the original cradle and its use in the celebration of Christmas and the solstice. The warm colors of the pages suggest sympathy.

The Spirit Books are on view at the Hunnewell Building Visitor Center at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University until July 22. Gallery hours are 10 AM-5 PM everyday but Wednesday.

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